Chasing Ghosts
by Kate Anslinger

"It's only nasty people who pretend to be good. Always keep that in mind."

Grace McKenna is a brilliant detective and the only female one in her department. However, Grace has a secret: she can see past crimes committed in the eyes of criminals. This gift has enabled her to solve cold cases. Grace is currently pregnant with her first child, and her doctor has been watching her closely because she is going through a geriatric pregnancy. During one of her doctor’s appointments, Grace meets a young woman, Charlotte Anderson, who is also pregnant. Grace locks eyes with Amy, a much older woman accompanying Charlotte. Grace sees the agony of a gothic teen in Amy’s eyes, and this vision puzzles her. The more Grace thinks about it, the more she feels the urge to learn more about the woman.

In her novel, Anslinger sends the reader on a journey through Grace's eyes. This perspective is especially interesting because the main character's gift is to see past crimes committed through the eyes of criminals, and it allows the reader to vicariously experience what Grace is going through. In addition, the author does a good job of giving each character a unique trait that stands out. The dialogue also helps give the reader an idea of each one's personality. The narrative dives deep into Grace's emotions when she cannot get the answers she is looking for and is only getting pieces. Anslinger also explores the theme that appearances may be deceitful. For instance, Amy appears to be the picture-perfect wife and a good person on the surface, while what dwells inside is something else entirely. Thus, the author establishes a sharp contrast between one's inward and outward appearance. Readers will likely appreciate this book because of its many twists and turns.

A 2023 Eric Hoffer Book Award Category Finalist

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